Healthy Travel How To's: Part 2
Okay so last week we covered 5 great tips to get you started on healthy travel! In case you need a refresher, check out Healthy Travel How To's: Part 1 here!
Continuing from where we left off, here are a few more great things to keep in mind to keep your body and mind healthy and happy when on the road! Remember, these are not a one size fits all approach so take what you need and leave what you don't!
6. Keep hydrated.
Whether you're at home or away, hydration is so key in helping you stay on top of your game! Of course as your circumstances, climate and activity level change, so do your hydration needs.
Anyone who's been on a plane knows they tend to be very dry environments. In fact on a 10 hour flight it's estimated that men can lose about 2 liters of water and women can lose about 1.6 liters of water! This is because the cabin humidity is very low at only 10-20%. For these reasons it's recommended that you drink about 240ml of water for each hour you're in the air. Plus more if you're indulging in alcohol as well! For more info on hydrating while on long-haul flights, check this article out.
As far as road trips, bus tours, camping, or any other type of travel, it's no less important that you stay hydrated! Getting dehydrated can make you feel awful. Some common symptoms include fatigue, irritability and other changes in mood, headache, dry skin, and even dizziness in severe cases. None of those symptoms are fun to deal with, so make sure you're getting at least the recommended 2 liters of water in each day!
To make sure you're getting enough liquids in, carry water with you everywhere you go and sip constantly throughout the day. When I travel I bring a 1 liter Nalgene bottle. That way I just have to make sure I drink 2 full bottles through the day and it's done... no thinking required! If you have small amounts of water frequently, your body will be much better hydrated than if you chug it down all at once. And if you have trouble drinking water at all because it's just so damn boring, here are some tips to help you mix it up!
7. Take part in cultural activities that are also health promoting.
This is surprisingly simple to do, will make your trip more memorable, and will keep you feeling great!
Of course this depends greatly on where you're traveling and the length of your trip, but almost anywhere you go, chances are you can find something that will make you feel great. This can be exotic or simple and close to home.
If you're in Thailand, get a traditional Thai massage. Go to a Japanese bath house. Swim in the dead sea. Go to the Blue Lagoon in Iceland. Try out a day spa in a new city. All of these activities promote health & wellness, will make you feel fantastic, and are part of the culture or place you're visiting. When looking back at your trip, yes you want to remember the big party nights, but also the relaxing times where you just stopped to soak it all in.
8. Don't overindulge in alcohol.
You're on vacation. There's all you can drink margaritas, daiquiris, mojitos, or whatever else is your jam and you just want to indulge... So do it! But do it mindfully and don't go overboard. Choose the fact that you will likely be hungover and feel like crap for a while. Nobody is going to tell you to not drink, just do it in moderation!
It's important to take part in the culture of a place you're visiting. Have one a few beers at Oktoberfest. Perhaps enjoy some wine tasting at a vineyard or try out that cool new tequila bar. Just do it in moderation and plan accordingly so that you reduce your hangover as much as possible. Overindulging is not only harmful to your liver and body in general, it's also harmful to your holiday memories. You want to make memories and enjoy your trip, so slow down, drink a little less, and make the most of where you are right now.
That being said, if you do overindulge and get a little carried away, try out the following tips to help deal with a hangover on the road:
Try to book late flights/trips the next day to give yourself time to recover
If you must travel by car or bus, sit as close to the front as you can! This is the least bumpy place and will hopefully not make your hangover any worse
Drink an electrolyte blend specifically for rehydration as soon as you can
Ginger or any other motion sickness remedies will do wonders for a hangover! Since being hungover feels like being car sick, these remedies will definitely help. If you're on the essential oil bandwagon, DigestZen can help settle your stomach and get that nausea under control!
Make sure you do your best to drink enough water and eat a good meal before your big night out! Preparing your body beforehand can actually help it recover quicker afterwards.
Have a sense of humour and take it all in stride. Chances are you made some great memories and had an awesome night you won't forget! Big nights out can make a trip so much more fun, so just be grateful for the good times and try not to do it again too soon!
9. Take some time to be alone, write and reflect.
Emotional and mental health is just as important while away as it is at home, maybe even more so! By taking even a few minutes each day to reflect on where you are, what you're doing, and how you're feeling, you will be doing yourself a huge favour and will oftentimes enjoy your trip even more!
It's such a great idea to ponder your experiences and most importantly what you're grateful for on this trip. When you do this, you will be able to see your travels through a whole new lens. It can solidify great memories and help you deal with the challenges you're facing. After all, traveling isn't all unicorns and rainbows. It can be challenging, tiring, and overwhelming at times.
If you're not quite sure how to do this or what it would look like, here are a few suggestions to get you started:
Take some time to be alone. Go for a walk in a new city. Sit on the beach or by the pool. Perhaps even to go a café or restaurant. Reflect in your head, enjoy your surroundings, breathe deep, and just be with yourself.
If you're a visual person, this may mean doing a video blog. This is so simple with a smartphone, simply turn the camera on yourself, hit record, and start talking! Talk about your trip. Your challenges. The high points, and all the amazing things you're seeing. By taking this time to be alone to record this, you will solidify the memories in your mind and handle the stresses in a much more balanced way.
For the writers out there, a journal will be your best friend! Write about the things you're seeing and people you're meeting. Maybe even sketch or draw. Write what you're grateful for each day. Having a written record of your journey will be something you'll always be thankful for!
If you absolutely can't be alone, then create your own little sanctuary whenever you can. Put in headphones and listen to your favourite music or podcast. Put on an eye mask and have a nap. Or get lost in a book or movie.
10. Choose healthy food whenever possible.
This is a big topic and really could be a whole post onto itself. Food is something we all need to survive. It sustains life, gives us energy, brings pleasure, and is a fantastic way to experience the culture of the place you're visiting.
The challenge comes when junk food takes over and for days on end it's deep fried foods, processed junk, and things that make you bloated and lethargic. So what to do?
Plan ahead as much as possible! Before a road trip prepare and pack a whole bunch of healthy snacks. This way you'll have lots of options at your fingertips! A few ideas for you make ahead and bring along:
A container of homemade trail mix
Hard boiled eggs
Cut up veggies with hummus
Cut up fruit with almond butter
Bring your own healthy snacks on planes. Though flying international you can't always make your own, you an still purchase pre-packaged healthy options. Things like Clif bars, Lara bars, and raw nuts & seeds are great. Often times in departure lounges there is also fresh fruit, sandwiches, and salads on offer. These options exist in airports, all you have to do is look out for them!
When traveling, if you're going to be staying in hotels or hostels with some kitchen space, consider going to the grocery store and making your own meals instead of always eating at restaurants. This will save you money and it'll mean you can eat food the way you like it instead of the way a restaurant wants to prepare it.
When in a new city, do a little bit of research and find places that make the type of food you like! This can actually be a fun tourist activity and get you exploring neighbourhoods that you wouldn't otherwise end up seeing! Mapping out healthy stops on a road trip or walking tour can be a great way to stay healthy and explore at the same time.
Be flexible and take it easy. If fish & chips, doughnuts, or a meat pie are part of the local culture, then enjoy them! Food is a primary way you experience a culture, so don't worry too much and enjoy where you are right now. Having one or two unhealthy meals isn't a big deal in the grand scheme of things and will help you connect with a new culture on a deeper level. Relax and have fun!
I hope these tips help give you a great start on how to travel and stay healthy! There will definitely be more on this subject to come, and any comments or questions are always welcome.
For now, have happy & healthy travels!
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